Safety stirrups are essential - Why do riders get caught in stirrups?

Many have heard horror stores about riders getting caught in their stirrups. It is not uncommon that a rider falls and gets dragged behind a scared horse for meters upon meters. But why do riders get caught in stirrups and how can it be prevented? Are safety stirrups the only option?

Four reasons why riders get caught in stirrups

There are four main reasons why riders get caught in their stirrups. These are easy things to address, and if you take some time to correct them, you will be safer too.

  1. Stirrups are too big.
  2. Stirrups are too small.

Selecting the right stirrup size is very important. If your stirrup is too small, your foot can get stuck. In fact, if the stirrup is too small, there is a big risk to get caught in the stirrups in case of a fall.

If they are too big, your foot can slide through it. This kind of scenario is extremely dangerous, as it will be practically impossible to release yourself from a stirrup if your foot slides through it. This is why you should take care that your child has smaller stirrups than you do - and vice versa.

3. Improper footwear.

You should always wear a riding boot with a heel. Never wear sneakers or working shoes. Riding boots are extremely important in terms of safety, so your foot won't get caught in the stirrup.

4. Stirrup returns to its home position.

When a stirrup is not on your foot, it lays flat against the horse's side. When you fall, the stirrup will try to return to this position. If you're caught in the stirrup, it will become increasingly more difficult to get out of it.

Solution? Safety stirrups!

Safety stirrups are one of the ways to keep yourself safe when riding. For instance, our Ophena S and Ophena T magnetic safety stirrups are designed with an open side that will release your foot immediately in case of an accident. Also, the stirrups have a foot stopper on the side as well as a magnet, so your foot will not slide out of the stirrups while you're riding.

In the video below, you can see how the magnet works and how the open side provides perfect safety.

Ophena S and Ophena T have been created with safety in mind. We all know that horseback riding comes with its risks, and falling off is one of the biggest ones. And they say that you will truly be a great rider after you have fallen off a 100 times - so the best thing you can do is to ensure that those falls are as safe as possible.

Magnetic safety stirrups at Ophena
Ophena S and Ophena T magnetic safety stirrups will help you keep yourself safe when riding.

There are also many other types of safety stirrups on the market. In fact, you can see a comparison between different types of jump stirrups in an article that we wrote. Check it out here.


By being mindful of your stirrup size and choosing correct footwear, you can reduce the risk of getting caught in your stirrups. Also, safety stirrups are an excellent way of increasing your safety.